Red ribbons to be distributed as start of anti-crime programs

The initial roll-out of a red ribbon campaign against crime begins this Friday near a neighborhood watch group coordinator’s residence on Scott Street, the first of a series of programs intended to combat crime and curb the drug use and violence the city and region continues to experience.

The first of the red ribbons are to be displayed on a property in the 1400 block of Scott Street at 5 p.m., according to Jeff Reeder, president of the Williamsport Citizens Corps Council. He and Ron James, president of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Crime Commission on Memorial Avenue are paying for and distributing the red ribbons. The event, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday is one facet of a multi-prong attack to address crime and violence in the city, Reeder said.

“We’re going to take this citywide after Friday,” Reeder said of offering red ribbons to be displayed on the front of residences.

The Scott Street event also acts as an opportunity for neighbors to meet with each other and discuss public safety issues with city officials, if they choose to do so, Reeder said.

“We want people to begin to put ribbons on houses throughout the city,” he said. “This is not to target specific watch groups or areas but is an initiative for all people to stand up against all of the crime and violence against the city,” he said.

Next, the commission and council will sponsor a series of training programs.

They are one-hour sessions from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 7, 14 and 21 at the Sechler Room on the second floor of City Hall.

The first meeting is Bootcamp of the Mind, and will include information on the evolution of neighborhood watch groups and offer tips on helping people organize and get involve and what their responsibilities are when they join these groups.

The second session will be drug identification, including signs and symptoms of people using drugs and the third session is to feature a speaker on the law regarding probable cause for police or citizens.

“It’s the first time we’re trying this in the city,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said. The Scott Street neighborhood is where there have been two fatal shootings occurring in the same rental property, according to police.